As reactions continue to trail the just concluded general election in Nigeria, the Owerri Catholic Archdiocese through one of its organs, Justice, Development and Peace Caritas/Commission, JDPC, has among other recommendations, advised the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to consider adoption of electronic voting to curb cases of electoral violence, ballot box snatching and other electoral atrocities.
The recommendation followed the observation of its field officers during the February 23, 2019 Presidential and National Assembly Elections and March 9 Governorship and House of Assembly elections in Imo-State.
A Press Release signed by Rev. Fr. Dr. Gerald C Njoku, JDPC Director and made available to The Leader, reported several cases of poor functioning of card readers in most places visited including Ikenegbu ward 03 (MANN Street Primary School) where only one card reader functioned among five polling units resulting in late voting and accreditation. The situation was worsened by late arrival of INEC officials.
“Relatedly, while we commend the conduct of some security personnel deployed at different Polling Units across Imo-State, JDPC observers also expressed dissatisfaction with some of the security personnel that collected money from different political parties,” the Release said.
Among other recommendations by JDPC, is the need for the renewal and enforcement of the electoral reforms to checkmate indiscriminate use of State Administrative resources by the incumbent government during elections.
“JDPC observed that the presidential and gubernatorial elections were marred with cases of vote buying across all the LGAs in Imo State. In some polling units, there were cases of voters who were induced with money ranging from 3000-5000 naira as gratification,” according to the release.
Other recommendations by JDPC include, improvement in areas of logistics and training of electoral officials, proper identification of the security officers in subsequent elections; guarantee of the functionality of card readers and continuous voters education beyond 2019 by National Orientation Agency.
JDPC acknowledged His Grace, Most Rev Dr Anthony J.V. Obinna, Owerri Catholic Archbishop, for his resilience, prayers and admonitions to all the politicians in the State. The commission further thanked the Archbishop for mobilizing the JDPC election observers.
They also commended INEC Imo State Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, Prof. Francis Emeka Ezeonu for conducting a credible election that reflected the mandates of Imolites.
It would be recalled that JDPC on February 14 organized a seminar for its observers so as to prepare them for the 2019 general election in Imo State.
Originally published at THE LEADER Newspaper.